Last revised by Dr Yuranga Weerakkody on 06 May 2021

The putamen (plural: putamina) is a paired structure and one of the nuclei that make up the basal ganglia. Together with the caudate nucleus, it may be referred to as the corpus striatum.

The putamen is a round structure situated at the base of the forebrain and is the most lateral of the basal ganglia nuclei on axial section. Medially to it lies the globus pallidus and laterally, the external capsule. The putamen and globus pallidus are collectively referred to as the lentiform nucleus owing to their lens-like shape.

Through various pathways, the putamen is connected to the substantia nigra and globus pallidus. The main function of the putamen is to regulate movements and influence various types of learning. It employs dopamine to perform its functions. The putamen also plays a role in degenerative neurological disorders, such as Parkinson disease.

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1
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  • Figure 2
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  • Figure 3: basal ganglia (illustration)
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  • Figure 4: Gray's anatomy illustration
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  • Fig 5: dopamine in Parkinson's disease (illustration)
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  • Fig 6: organisational structure of basal ganglia
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